The Praying Church
The true church is to be defined as a praying church. In fact, in many respects the Christian church began as a prayer meeting. Acts 1:13 says “The disciples with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” Acts 2:42 says the early church devoted themselves to prayer, and on account of this the Lord was adding daily to their number (v. 47). A similar connection is made between the prayers of the saints and the growth of the early church in Acts 12 (vv. 5, 12, and 24).
These saints of the ancient world were saints of prayer because they recognized that they were utterly helpless apart from God’s aid. In God’s mysterious sovereignty, He has ordained His will to be done through the answered prayers of weak and feeble men and women. The early church understood this. Do we, friends?
I fear that prayer is often the first thing to go in our busy schedules, perhaps because we do not comprehend its importance. But we need to recognize that there is no life in the church without prayer. Prayer is the spiritual breath of God’s people—it’s like the cry of a newborn infant in that it is the sign of life present in the body. Without prayer, we are suffocating.
This is why the Apostle Paul has famously instructed us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17). This does not mean that we are to be in prayer every single moment of every single day (although there are worse things to do all day!). Rather, it means that our general disposition ought to be one of prayer. Our first instinct should always be to turn to God and commune with Him—we are to always keep the lines of communication open. Truly, prayer should come as naturally as breathing to us.
The reality is, however, that prayer does not come naturally. It is a supernatural, spiritual action. Therefore, since it is not an inherent instinct or reflex, we need to practice, don’t we? Just as with other skills in life, prayer needs to be carefully cultivated. The more we do it the more natural and instinctive it will become. Our church is pleased to offer one such “practice course” for you at our own prayer meeting--every 4th Wednesday at 7PM. Through this exercise, may we form a robust habit of communing with God regularly, that it might be said of Community that we are a church defined by our ceaseless prayer.